Portrait of Cati
a portrait with a sense of its personal space
Portraits are a form of keepsake that play an important role in human
relationships, particularly between people in different generations.
Unlike a traditional static portrait, Portrait of Cati senses and
reacts to the presence and motion of spectators. As an experiment in
future forms of portraiture, Portrait of Cati suggests ways that
technologically-enhanced portraits can offer a more dynamic
understanding of the identity and personality of the subject and forge
a deeper connection between the subject and spectators of the
Portrait of Cati is a portrait that senses and reacts to the proximity
of the spectator. The woman portrayed in the piece, Cati, at first
appears neutral and indifferent. When a spectator physically
approaches the portrait, her facial expression changes. As the
spectator gestures or moves nearer and farther, her expressions become
more and less pronounced. When the spectator leaves, she returns to a
neutral state. If the spectator returns at a later time, Cati's face
may change in a different way.
The Portrait of Cati installation consists of a navy blue wooden
structure that denotes the active sensing area of the piece. One side
of this structure is a solid wall on which hangs a small wooden
picture frame, inside which the portrait is projected from the rear.
The proximity of spectators is tracked using an electric field sensing
device that can to detect extremely small movements, on the order of
Portrait of Cati was created for Id/Entity: Portraits in the 21st
Century, an exhibition highlighting works combining the art of
portraiture with computer mediation to explore how the concepts of
identity and self will be shaped by new technologies. This exhibition
was mounted at the MIT Media Lab in Boston and at The Kitchen Art
Gallery in New York City in late 2001.
Publications and Links
movie of Portrait of Cati (Quicktime, 14 MB, no audio).
Portrait of Cati was exhibited at the Darklight Film
Festival, Dublin, 20 - 22 September 2002.
Portrait of Cati was exhibited in Id/entity:
Portraits in the 21st Century at The Kitchen Art Gallery, New
York, 30 November 2001 - 15 January 2002.